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The Omelet of Progress

February 18, 2009

In Puerto Rico on biz for my side job (I know, boo hoo).  Got out yesterday after work and got some warm sea air in me, which has done as much to cure my cold as all the DayQuil.  I don’t have the depth right now to tackle Against Intellectual Monopoly, but I am reading After the Software Wars by Keith Curtis, a former Microsoftie and now free software evangelist. There are some good points in it, but I’m afraid that like too much writing on free culture, the messianic streak is so wide it overwhelms reason – software corporations are “doomed,” all knowledge will be free soon, etc., with no regard for the human economic motivations which are the reason most things aren’t free.  The wind beneath the wings of so much of the evangelism on open source is, oddly for tech types from whom you’d expect more rational, linear argument, an idea that since free knowledge “serves the greater good” that it will automatically just happen, and that those who attempt to be paid for content will be swept away by historical necessity, Lenin’s eggs in the great omelet of progress.  I might get something posted by Thursday night; flying home all day Friday. 

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Keith permalink
    February 18, 2009 4:26 am

    What page are you on?

    I don’t think software companies are doomed — but proprietary ones are. They are collapsing anyway, and look at the amount of free code used on Apple’s mac, on Google servers and their G1, etc.

    The free software chapter doesn’t argue that software progress will just happen — business will pay for it in a service business. The Linux kernel is funded primarily by hardware companies today. There are so many reasons for companies to fund free software.

    I’m still revising the book, so I’m happy to take feedback and find ways to make it stronger.

    Thanks for buying it! Even if you don’t agree or you find my explanations deficient, I tried to include lots of food for thought on things.

    Kind regards,

    -Keith

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